Three days in Bankok

11 Aug

As I arrive to Bangkok at 10 pm I recall the four misadventures that had happened to Alex (the guy I met in Luang Nam Tha and Don Det) in his first days of traveling in Bangkok.

1. He was robbed at the hotel while he was out

2. A tuk tuk brought him to a shop, where two big guys didn’t let him out until they “convinced” him to buy a 12000 dollar suit. Yes, 12000 dollars.

3. A “friend” brought him to a pub and made him pay a 70 dollar bill for two beers. Calling the police meant “trouble for him”.

4. In a bus from bangkok to the south the drivers put sleeping gas in the air-con and robbed everyone.

I have been hearing that Bangkok is, in a sense, the bad boy of south east asia, but Alex awful experience had just to be very bad luck. And probably a little bit of innocence, too. After landing in suvarnabhumi airport, bangkok, I feel optimistic and take my first tuk tuk to the touristy area.

Khao San and the streets next to it are a kind of cheap NYC times square. Neon lights on top of each other and loud music from every bar and shop mix in a cacophony that, in just a few minutes, turns your brains in chilly jelly. It is also, unfortunately, my best option to find a hotel past 10 pm at night. In the one I choose, completely deaf cats get scared as I walk into my room. The room has only one bed and a fan in the seiling, and I get to learn something from it in the first night. I can sleep well sharing bedroom with geckos, ants, spiders and mosquitos; but I do have panic of ticks. I explode four of them between folds of my sheets and run out for another room, as far from the cats and the old room as possible. I don’t get robbed, but the next day I look for another hotel.

When going to the mall in the morning, with two other guys, we bargain a tuk tuk for 40 baths, but we get to see a shop. This is, the tuk tuk makes a stop in a store before our final destination, he gets the comission and we only pay 40 baths instead of 240. In this case is a jewelry factory, with a suspiciously high number of tuk tuks parked outside and many tourists wandering inside. All of the employers are very well dressed in black suites, and probably all the jewellry is fake.

Out of the six floors the mall has, five and a half are for women fashion clothes and only half for men, which also includes some ladyboys shops. The most interesting thing in the mall is meeting Mike, from Melbourne. The purpose of his five day trip in bangkok is only shopping. He shows me how, for a family of seven, it is cheaper to fly to bangkok and buy clothes than shop in Melbourne. In his input and output amounts of dollars he writes for me, the account balances, but no salary for buying clothes during five days in a row is included.

When coming back from the mall, now alone, I feel that spending a few more minutes in another store is worth saving five euros, so now it’s me who asks first for a ride with one stop. This time is a suit shop! I put myself two rules: don’t drink anything and get out in five minutes. I am surprised they don’t have any suites but just catalogues and exposed fabrics. The five minutes go forever as some men ask me questions.

Back in khao san I obviate all the proposals of bum bum, marihuana, pubs, tattoes and girls massage and go for the healthy fruit shakes and funny t-shirts. Apart from the impressive royal district I don’t visit much of the city. It’s day 35 and it’s not about seeing one more place.

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